Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson has appointed George Stepps as Election Coordinator for Jefferson County. Robinson’s appointment was announced Wednesday during the Jefferson County Election Commission meeting.
“My plan is to bring George Stepps in as the Coordinator to handle the election,” said Robinson.
Stepps will be required to receive training for the position, and Robinson said the county will make sure that training is completed.
“The county will make sure that he receives his training,” Robinson said. “The training will be at the Secretary of State’s office, and he will be involved in those trainings so that we can make sure he is up to speed for the November election.”
Commissioner Mike Adam asked Robinson about the training, saying there is no training scheduled before the November election. However, Robinson said that the Secretary of State’s office has ensured him that they can provide training to Stepps.
“I’m aware that there is no training, but I am also aware that there will be training offered by the Secretary of State himself for training for the new voting machines that he will offer to our county clerk,” Robinson said. “When that happens Mr. Stepps will be involved in that training.”
Stepps will begin work on June 1.
In additional news, the Commission voted to appoint Tameka Reed as an election clerk for the November general election to ensure continuity of administrative operations. Commissioners Mike Adam and Stu Soffer voted in favor of the appointment while Commissioner Ted Davis opposed.
Reimbursement requests for the primary and runoff elections were approved by all commissioners, in addition to the approval of an invoice to the DeWitt School District for assistance with their election in March.
Additionally, Jefferson County will receive new voting machines. Jerry Amick, account manager for Election Systems & Software, was on hand to give a synopsis of what to expect with the machines and noted that Jefferson County needed the machines worse than any other county in the state.
“I would say out of all of the counties in Arkansas, Jefferson county needed this worse than anybody,” Amick said.
Amick stated that eight hours of training would be required for election officials and suggested that training take place closer to the November election so the training would still be fresh on the minds of those workers.
Additionally, Amick stated that the new machines will allow the county to have voting centers where anyone in the county can vote at any voting location, and their vote will still count. He also noted the new system will not only count the votes but will automatically link up with all other voting sites showing a person has voted, which would keep someone from voting at one site, then attempting to vote at another site later in the day.
Commissioner Ted Davis stated that he would like to see some of the new voting equipment set up in the community so voters can familiarize themselves with it before election day. Both Adam and Soffer agreed with Davis, saying they would look at trying to set up the equipment in locations such as the county courthouse, Walmart, or other public locations.